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The 60th Bergen International Festival

Their Majesties The King and Queen attended the opening of the Bergen International Festival on Torgallmenningen in the city centre today. A specially composed fanfare was performed for the King and Queen as a gift for their 75th birthdays.


"Norway in red, white and blue”, one of the country’s most beloved national songs, was played upon the King and Queen’s arrival at King Olav V’s Square. A new fanfare was performed when the King and Queen took their place at the podium in the middle of Torgallmenningen, the avenue traversing Bergen city centre. Composed by Ketil Hvoslef , the overture is a gift from the Bergen International Festival to the King and Queen in honour of their 75th birthdays.

Norwegian Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt carried out the formal opening, which included remarks by the mayor of Bergen and author Dag Solstad, this year’s Festival Speaker. The opening of the 60th Bergen International Festival also featured song and dance performances.

Nordic artistic expression

The Bergen International Festival is Norway’s oldest and most important music and theatre festival. Over two weeks, some 150 performances are held in over 20 venues. In addition, the festival has a strong presence in the city through its large programme of free-of-charge outdoor events.

The Bergen International Festival aims to cultivate creativity and present artistic expression at the highest level to the widest possible audience. Its vision is to become the most important meeting place for creative and performing artists from the Nordic region. The festival combines tradition and renewal in a programme that is rooted in diversity and encourages reflection.

Opening concert in Grieg Hall

This evening, the King and Queen will attend this year’s opening concert in Grieg Hall, where Komische Oper Berlin will perform Handel’s opera Xerxes.

Xerxes is one of Handel’s most colourful and dramatic works. The opera is based on the famous Persian king, but does not deal with war and international politics. Instead the audience will experience a baroque romantic drama – with a twist.

During intermission and following the performance, the King and Queen will be meeting several of the vocalists, as well as the director of Komische Oper Berlin, Andreas Homoki, and Stefan Herheim of Norway who directed tonight’s performance. The Festival Speaker Dag Solstad and Ketil Hvoslef, the composer of the fanfare presented in the morning, will also be among the guests during intermission.

The Festival Exhibition

Each year a special art exhibition is designed for the Bergen International Festival, and tomorrow Queen Sonja will attend the opening of this year’s exhibition. This year’s Festival Artist, Marianne Heier, has chosen to move her work out of the halls of Bergen Kunsthall into the urban space outside. A key component of the exhibition is the fate of the fishing trawler Vima.

The Bergen International Festival is under the patronage of His Majesty The King.


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